I used to go to fan sites for Zelda and Final Fantasy and all kinds of things that I watched and read. I hung around on those fandom based Live Journals back in the day, when people still had Live Journals, and hunted for the best little three frame gif animation to support the characters that I liked.
Fandom has always had some problems: for instance there’s a clear dislike of characters of color in a lot of fandoms. The characters that do exist aren’t represented through art or in fan fiction. It’s not that they’re written badly or mistreated, but that they are usually ignored.
As a black kid you get used to this and you make sure to support the characters who are out there for you when they’re well written and handled.
Lately fandom has been showing another ugly side and this one is more deliberate and less of an omission. Movies about things that used to be niche have become mainstream. Marvel movies about second tier comic book heroes make a billion dollars. The average person can tell you who Chewbacca is and we’re all carrying around a computer more powerful than the ones that took us to the moon.
Tech and nerd hobbies aren’t so out of the ordinary anymore and it’s pissed off the people who think that these things belong to them. That’s my take on what’s going on with the latest Star Wars movie (which I loved and actually would love to see again). The movie was good, better than Force Awakens and Rogue One I think. My theater walked out seemingly happy.
But when I go online to check sites like Rotten Tomatoes the scores for critics and audience members are wildly varied. Let me start by saying: I didn’t even vote in that poll and I don’t think most people bother to vote on RT. But it still struck me as ridiculous.
What nerds see as the invasion of their space and their stuff being “dumbed down” (it’s not) is what I think is partially responsible.
The other part is the fans who want things to go exactly like they or some YouTuber they love predicted. These are the ass clowns who do a 45 minute analysis on a one minute teaser trailer frame-by-frame to try and predict a two hour movie. And then they are the ones who cry when the predictions they made weren’t right.
We saw this same thing happen with the Harry Potter series after fans sat and wrote out all of these complex theories for a book that really hadn’t ever been full of complex theories.
And all of this serves to remind me why I’m largely done with fandom. I don’t go to the Rick and Morty subreddit or join Doctor Who groups because I find the people in those places insufferable. I never really tried too hard to get in with Star Wars fans because they wanted you to read a ton of books and comics (some of which contradicted one another) just to know the stuff they were talking about.
I’m hugely anti-gatekeeping when it comes to “what someone must do to be a fan of X”. I’ve played every Final Fantasy one through fifteen. Owned the first twelve of them and beat all of those but twelve and eleven. I’ve seen various tie-ins and movies and the like. But I’m not going to scream at some girl that she doesn’t know shit about the games because she’s only played thirteen.
And with all of this stuff being so mainstream now, I don’t really see the point of fandom groups.